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Interesting Way To Approach Verbal

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by rxfudd, Jun 20, 2001.

  1. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Chicago suburbs
    Somebody posted on a different forum ( that he got an 11 verbal by quickly determining the passage with the least number of questions and simply leaving that passage out - pretend like it does not exist. When there was one minute left to go, he filled in C for the remaining question of the omitted passage.

    I guess that the logic is that you now have and extra 7-9 minutes to play with and odds are, you are going to get 1-2 out of those 6 or 7 questions correct.
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  3. What if that one passage is an easy read on a topic that you are interested in. You just missed 4-5 easy questions.
  4. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Chicago suburbs
    Well - I guess that you could modify the strategy for the hardest/longest passage. Again, I'm just relaying someone else's post. I have yet to try it myself.
  5. Wasabi

    Wasabi Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Chicago, Illinois
    Do you really think you could do this and distinguish which passages are hard or easy during such a short time frame? I think the best thing to do is start with the passage you feel most comfortable with and leave the most difficult for the remaining time left.

    Also, if you keep good track of the time during the test, you shouldn't have to worry about about making any guesses at the very end. You will finish. Trust me.
  6. Jalopycat

    Jalopycat 10+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2001
    My personal experience is that if you leave a passage out, you loose a LOT of points. With 30 minutes remaining in the verbal section, I miscounted how many passages I had left. When I thought I was finished with a minute left, I turned the page only to find a passage with 10 questions still to be answered! I was forced to just fill in answers... I took a beating with my score.
  7. fishtolive

    fishtolive Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    rxfudd...don't know if this is what you mean but here's what i did and i also got an 11... i don't believe in the "killer" passage that everyone buys into, i believe in numbers...the fact is that the more you answer correctly the better you do...hence, i don't really shop around like many folks do, i just jump in and start on the first one to get my momentum going...then, as i make my way through, i skip passages that don't have alot of questions...this way, i am spending more time on passages that are worth the effort...on my mcat, one passage was really short but had i think 9 questions and ya know where it was, right at the end (maybe jalopycat had the same form), if i had gone straight through or even done what looked like "easy" passages first, i would have got to this one last, in a panic, and missed let's say 4 out of 9 questions!
    i ended up with five minutes left and one passage to go that had maybe 5 or 6 questions...i skimmed it as fast as possible, took some educated-in-the-ways-of-mcat-b.s. guesses, and it worked out.
  8. AF1892

    AF1892 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2001

    For all of those who did well on the Verbal, some advice please... How did most of you attack the Verbal? The Kaplan approach? Take 4 minutes to "map" the passage, then go to questions, then go back and forth between passage and question to find the right answer? This is what I did, and I got a pathetic score of 6. Recently, I've tried reading the questions first, but I just get lost. I think it's just that I can't read fast and comprehend at the same time. I've also been reading alot of newspapers, but with no avail. With 2 months before the next test, any suggestions?

  9. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty 7+ Year Member

    May 26, 2001
    in the state of insanity
    That's what pretty much happened to me by default. I was functioning pretty slowly during all the sections since I was pretty sick (probably the flu or strep throat). On the verbal I didn't even get to TWO of the passages and simply filled in Bs for all of them (I figured, eh, why not B instead of C? :) ). I still managed a score of 9. I also skipped one or two passages in the science sections and still got 10s. Someone I know who took the test told me that sometimes randomly filling letters in is better than educated guesses because they have so many misleading/trick questions on the test. Just try taking the section a variety of ways and see what works for you. And remember, the best way to approach ANY verbal section is from behind... when it leasts suspects anything. ;)
  10. L'?nergie

    L'?nergie Member 7+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Hi AF1892,

    Disclaimer: I took The Berkeley Review, and it was two summers ago that I took the things may be very different from what I know.

    I basically used the same strategy I used when I took the SATs: read the passage, and then answer the questions, going back and forth between the passage and the specific question when I need to recall a specific detail. Admittedly the SAT passages were much easier, but the strategy worked (for me) in both tests. Some of the questions on the MCAT verbal are very straightforward, and those that require the some thinking usually have two or three obvious choices that can be easily eliminated. I remember having a few minutes left after finishing the last passage, and this I attribute to the fact that I am very decisive about answering the questions: if after 15-30sec I can't come up with my best answer, then I pick an answer and move on.

    Also, you need to figure out what kind of person you are: Are you more concept-oriented or number-oriented? For me, I knew I was a concept-oriented person, so doing physics problems that require no numeric manipulation was easier for me...during the test I actually double-checked every arithematic I did in the PS section because I was so unsure of myself. I finished the VR and the BS sections within the time alotted, but I didn't finish a whole passage in the PS section. Could you be doing the same thing, except on the VR section? Find out what your weakness is: are you lingering on each and every question about which you are ambivalent? Or are you trying to guess the answers to specific questions while you are reading the passage? (A very distracting practice) Or are you not engaging in what you read? (e.g. identifying the main point of the passage, looking at the logical and rhetorical progression/strategy of the argument, being sensitive to the diction and syntax of the text...)

    Two months is A LOT of time...don't stress out. Relax, and do some practice passages. Good luck with the verbal passages!

    Oh yea, and if you are shooting for a 12 or 13-15 on the VR section, you should just relax, because when you are scoring at that end, it's pretty much up to lady Fortune (how Machiavellian)...sometimes you get a 12, sometimes you get a 13-15. On an unlucky day, you might get an 11. So don't beat yourself up if you don't make the 13-15. Best wishes.
  11. modemduck

    modemduck Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2000
    New York, NY US
    Just a few tips to succeed @ verbal are listed here.

    1. Read "The Economist" everyday; explain to a friend in simple words what the important aspects of the article were and what the author was tyring to relay.

    2. Take lots of practice verbal exams for the MCAT and the LSAT. The LSAT verbal is harder and helps you gain proficiency in reading.

    3. When taking practice exams keep decreasing your time limit per passage. Work at first with 15 minutes per passage and then keep reducing the time until you get to about 8 or 7 minutes per passage.

    4. Try to find out what the answer SHOULD be, despite what you may think it is. This is an interesting concept my sister helped me with. Sometimes you are sure that an answer is correct, but you know that the writers of the test would choose differently for the key. Basically, this translates into... don't overthink the question.

    5. Practice doing single passages until you answer every question in that passage right. Take your time, but don't take too much time (over 17 min)

    6. Another good magazine to read is the "Atlantic Monthly".

    7. When you get frustrated, stop and read poetry... to relax =)

    8. Remember all this "practice reading" is actually going to help you succeed in medical school; it means you will be able to read more quickly and comprehend more. You will have more free time because you will finish reading assignments quickly.

    9. The whole MCAT is based on reading passages. Thus, studying for verbal can and probably will help you on other parts of the exam.

    These tips helped me improve from a 7 to an 11

  12. monster2

    monster2 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2001
    rxdude, you must be kidding me. Why do you have to spend time looking for nonsense? Relying on shortcuts is an act of desperation and will not help you in any way. Remember, people can just post any score they want just to crave attention. You should not be looking for ways to AVOID passages... you goal should be answering passages quickly and without exception. Yes, you can be faster by knowing the difficulty levels of each passage, but you must strive to answer all. As usual, many of the people at are morons and do not know what their talking about.

    For example, here's one form modemduck which I thought is more of a waste of time...

    Sure, waste more of your time and money by subscribing to crap when you plentiful material closer to the exam like practice tests, etc.

    Only thing I agree

    Then 3-9 are rehashes that everybody already knows. Like I said, keep it simple and you'll score double digits.
  13. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Chicago suburbs
    monster2, the original idea probably is crap. The only reason I posted it is because it is the most bizarre approach to the verbal section I have ever seen on these or any other forums.

    I like your idea about reading the verbal passages as if they were magazines. I do, however, agree with the people who have suggested reading magazines the the economist. I'll probably use both. At this point, I need to read everything I can get my hands on and take as many verbal sections as I can (which is why I'm taking Kaplan - I need their practice library since I am fresh out of practice exams, although I'll probably re-use the ones from the last test). Thanks again for the tips, they are some of the better ones on these boards.
  14. Monster - You're just a big meanie. :p
  15. fishtolive

    fishtolive Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    if you're gonna waste your time reading something, read the actual mcat passages instead of some magazine...practice practice practice and cut your time to nothing...also, see how many you can get right w/out even reading a passage...i swear to god this works cuz it teaches you to look for the right wording...this is probably not the most conventional way to go about it but it's a big game and you have to know how to play it right. it's all semantics for verbal.
  16. alyssa

    alyssa New Member

    Jun 19, 2001
    I would like to get an opinion on my admission chances. I have a 3.65GPA and 9,8(P),10 on MCATs, from a UC school. Is there hope for me?
  17. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Chicago suburbs
    It's ok - she's new around these parts. And she has already started another thread on this. Yes, you have a chance.
  18. modemduck

    modemduck Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2000
    New York, NY US
    Monster, I don't see you giving any alternative ideas. You haven't given any reason why reading the economist is a bad idea either. Also, you don't need to subscribe; just go to your school library they should have it.

    Just my thoughts, but you shouldn't just practice the verbal to "improve" your score. You should firstly try to improve your reading capability... your scores will go up naturally. Even if you do well on the verbal despite your poor reading comprehension, you will spend all your time at medschool just trying to stay up with the reading assignments.

    I told some of my friends about these ideas for the verbal. They did stellar.

  19. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie 10+ Year Member

    Apr 11, 2000
    Dickinson, Tx
    This is just based on my may or may not apply to anybody.

    I, personally have never had an issue with verbal sections on any test - I have always had time to finish, and even to go back and re-read and check answers and still finish with time to spare. The issue that most people seem to have is the time issue - there is no question, really, than anyone here could do FABULOUSLY on the verbal given infinite time.

    Something I discovered this summer (in a reading skills class in prematric at UTMB) is that most people in my class read at about 200-300 words per minute. This confused me, since in my diagnostic, reading slowly I was at 702 and trying to read fast I was at 893 (I always thought that I was a "normal" reader...). My advice here is: TAKE SPEED READING if you dont already read quickly - not the "map..blah blah" stuff that Kaplan teaches, but eye training exercises etc. You'll need the skills in med school too. Try to find a program that does diagnostics, and has exercises (there are some great computer programs out there). HOnestly, I think that if people read faster it would shave a LOT of time off of the passages and leave more time to answer questions, thus increasing your score.

    good luck,
  20. Mikado

    Mikado Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2001
    Practicing reading will definately help your verbal score. Unfortunately you need to start practicing when you are about ten.

    Verbal skills build slowly.

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